Direct mail is experiencing something of a renaissance, as marketing departments look for new ways to delight customers who are suffering from digital fatigue and tuning out online communications.

In particular, handwritten direct mail can provide businesses with a valuable opportunity to capture people’s attention, trigger an emotive response and nurture a meaningful connection. Consider the last time you received a hand-addressed piece of post, it’s associated with care and thoughtfulness.

The challenge is planning and executing your own handwritten direct mail campaign to surprise and delight those most important to your business. We know this is uncharted territory for many - which is why we’ve created this helpful guide!


WHY - Plan your goals 

The first step to any direct mail campaign is identifying your goal. Why are you launching this activity, and what do you hope to achieve?

Establish clear objectives, such as:

  • Converting trial customers to ongoing customers
  • Welcoming new customers to encourage repeat purchases
  • Surprising and delighting loyal customers to maintain high spend
  • Winning back lapsing customers to increase sales
  • Increasing referrals from existing customers

Now for the second step. If you don’t set specific targets from the start, you’ll never be satisfied with a campaign’s results. It’s essential you identify tangible metrics such as:

  • Retention rate
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Net promoter score
  • Referral rate
  • Average Order Value
  • Repeat Purchase Rate
  • Net MRR Churn
  • A certain ROI


WHO - Know your audience

Handwritten direct mail campaigns sit at the opposite end of the spectrum to batch and blast door drop campaigns. This shouldn’t be a random collection of addresses pulled together on a whim. It’s time to get your magnifying glasses on your CRM.

To ensure your recipient feels a sense of authenticity upon opening the envelope, focus on specific segments to match your specific campaign purpose, such as:

  • Lapsed customers
  • Loyal brand advocates
  • Customers who have registered complaints

Following GDPR, marketers are having to adapt to new rules around data confidentiality. However, the DMA states that businesses don’t need to acquire explicit consent before sending recipients direct mail, so long as they can claim legitimate interest.


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  • What is their role?
  • What are their success metrics?
  • What challenges do they face?
  • What expertise are they lacking?
  • What opportunities are they missing?
  • What timelines do they work to?
  • What are their priorities?


WHEN - Set a realistic timeline

Every marketing campaign needs a timescale, so what are you working towards?

Whatever date you’re focused on, plan backwards. Consider when your note should land to get the best response. For instance, if you’re offering customers a special seasonal offer, schedule your note to land at least a couple of weeks before the discount deadline to give people a chance to purchase.

  • When does your mail need to reach recipients?
  • When should it be posted? (1st class UK delivery takes 1-3 days)
  • When does the campaign need to be uploaded to the Inkpact platform? (Inkpact turnaround time is 7 working days for single campaigns or 3 working days for frequent campaigns)
  • When should recipient lists, message copy and stationery design be signed off internally?

Direct mail can be surprisingly nimble in response to events in the customer journey. Set up frequent campaigns to be turned around in 72 hours, based on certain triggers:

  • An order exceeds a certain value
  • A customer registers a complaint
  • A new lead converts via referral

You can also improve the timeliness of your direct mail by integrating it within a multi-channel marketing campaign, so that post is complemented by digital communications or a phone call.


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WHAT - Design your campaign 

First impressions get your direct mail from the doormat into an individual’s hands, opened and read, so you need to make it count. Handwritten envelopes massively outperform all other channels, achieving close to 100% open rates. Really, there’s no contest.


 Direct mail costs traditionally include design, materials, printing and postage. While you could slap a few words on a multipack of cards, mail them all out and see what happens, mediocre presentation is likely to lead to mediocre results.

Get the best possible results with a handwritten direct mail campaign that represents both your company image and your attitude towards customers.

Avoid heavy branding and lead with quality. Not only do beautifully scribed notes on premium stationery portray your business in a positive light, they also treat recipients in a thoughtful, considered and personal manner. So it’s a win win.


  • Tone… Use a friendly tone of voice to spark an emotive response and build connection
  • Personalisation… Show that you know the customer’s journey with your brand
  • Length… Keep it short, sweet and punchy


 Add value in some way, teach them something or make them smile:

  • Additional details such as an event invite, special offer or news update can be printed on the stationery or inserted into the envelope.
  • You can even show your appreciation to customers with a gift.

Request message copy templates here.



HOW - Outsourcing your campaign

A huge pile of blank stationery and envelopes can be daunting to even the most dedicated office intern. Handwriting direct mail is a resource-heavy task, and once which requires a steady hand and creative flair. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, and flowing calligraphy isn’t a universal skill.

Handwritten direct mail campaigns also require a high level of organisation. Personalised content tends to loses all of its appeal if names are misspelt or addresses are mixed up. In an ideal world, you want to combine the order of a CRM with the warmth of human touch.

Luckily, Inkpact’s online platform makes it easy to send a handwritten direct mail campaign without you ever needing to pick up a fountain pen! Tech can empower your business to utilise high levels of personalisation in a scalable way, ultimately establishing stronger customer relationships and achieving better business outcomes. This switch from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to more bespoke tactics can truly transform your results.



NOW WHAT - Measuring your success

Tech can empower your business to utilise high levels of personalisation in a scalable way, ultimately establishing better customer relationships and achieving stronger business outcomes. This switch from a 'one-size-fits-all' customer retention approach to more bespoke tactics can truly transform your results.

Want proof that your handwritten campaign generated a positive ROI? It's time to get tracking. For our best practices on tracking and testing your customer retention campaign check out our guide here.



Open rate


Average order value increase


Redemption rate increase


Repeat purchase increase

Download Campaign Brief Template

Use the advice in this guide to fill out your own Campaign Brief to define your campaign goals as well as review and reflect on your results.

We cover: Metrics, Audience, Timescales & Results.